I’m gearing up to start work on the next (and probably final) installment of my Deviant Behaviors series, Eager Observer, by writing some short fiction dealing with the characters involved.
My goal is to write a piece of short fiction for Story a Day every (week)day in May. I’m not posting all of them, only those I think will be great for my blog readers. They will all be tagged [Free Short Fiction] for easier browsing.
Here’s today’s taste…
The prompt for today’s story comes from Our Write Side:
“The search for a scapegoat is the easiest of all hunting expeditions.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Singing the Blues
Harry’s blood felt hot and itchy under her skin. She paced across the closed room like a caged animal, because that was what she was: vilified, enclosed, a scapegoat and a patsy.
The chief was the last person she expected to walk in, but he came in anyway. He closed the door behind him and took in the sight of her sizzling under the watchful eye of the camera. Then he rubbed his meaty paw over the roll of neck sticking out of his shirt collar and wiped it on his pants.
He was sweating. Good.
“You know I didn’t do this,” Harry said. “I’m a lot of things, but I would never roll on another cop.”
He sucked in a breath through his teeth, then blew it out with a low whistle. He indicated the chairs. “Let’s sit down and talk about this, Thresher.”
“There’s nothing to talk about.”
She remained standing but gripped the back of her chair with fingers that turned white with exertion. He slumped into the chair like a man beaten.
“Listen, kid,” he started.
“No, you listen,” she interrupted. “Do you think I had anything to do with Hindy’s death?”
He rubbed the back of his neck again, then reached out an open palm to her. “You know I respect you. You’re a good cop.”
She shoved the chair against the table and it clattered. The chief raised a finger to the camera to tell his men to stand down. She turned to look at the camera with a grimace, then back at the old man.
“I would never intentionally put someone’s life in danger. That’s why I got into this business: to save lives. Not to end them. Definitely not to roll over and let my partner take the fall.”
He put both hands on his knees, and she knew he was almost done here. “No one is pressing charges here, kid. We just think it’s best if your transfer comes earlier than later.”
“Who’s ‘we’?” she spat.
He swung one hand behind him at the door. “The department at large.”
She wrapped her arms across her chest and shook her head slowly. She looked down at the scuffed floor, at her own weathered boots, then back at the watery-eyed chief.
“You all decided to roll on me, is that it? Make the department look better at my expense?”
“I could have taken your badge and pressed charges,” he said, then pushed off the table and onto his feet. He adjusted his belt around his expansive belly. Then he looked down at her. “I didn’t want to do that. You’ve done a lot of good here.”
“And I could still do more good,” she said through her teeth. Then she hung her head again in resignation. “But not if no one wants me here, then you can forward my transfer papers to the apartment.”
He reached out a hand as if to shake, then thought better of it, and adjusted his pants again. He cleared his throat and didn’t meet her eye. “That’s good, Thresher. You take it –”
“Like a man?” she finished for him. She sneered. “I can take pain a lot better than any man in this department.”
She pushed past him to the door, but stopped with her hand on the knob. “Am I free to go?”
The department outside the door was at a standstill, but as soon as she opened the door, everyone started working at a frantic pace. Eyes fell to the floor or to paperwork. No one spoke. Harry Thresher kept her head held high as she walked out of the building for the last time with no idea what her next move would be.